Coinciding with the FOX release of "ONG BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR," MAGNOLIA has released "ONG BAK 2: THE BEGINNING," on blu-ray. While the entertainment value of "ONG BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR," had nothing to do with its story, at least the narrative wasn't dreadful. Unfortunately, the plot to this film, makes the original feel like Shakespeare! The title is misleading too! The two films have nothing to do with one another. This one is set in 15th Century Thailand. When Lord Sihadecho and his wife are murdered by a rival for power, young Tien, their child, now an orphan, is thrown into a crocodile pit by a marauding band of criminals. However, he survives and is taken under the wing of a leader of outlaws and trained in martial arts. When Tien matures, mastering the deadly skills necessary to seek revenge, it's not hard to see where the story will go. There's nothing really horrible about the predictability of the narrative, but in spite of some impressive fight sequences, "ONG BAK 2: THE BEGINNING" is just dull. The fact that it even attempts to have a sub-plot, seems insulting, considering how poorly its main theme is handled throughout. While it leaves things unresolved for a follow-up film to handle, it's impossible to believe viewers would be happier leaving this story alone, if it means preventing having to sit through more!
MAGNOLIA has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this VC-1 encoded 1080p blu-ray. Colors are often rich, and never lifeless as was one problem facing the other "ONG BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR" blu-ray. Detail is often impressive, and the image presented is generally well polished. While there are some artifacts, they're low-key and nothing like in the other film. A decent image, but far from reference quality. There's little in the way of depth, all the more disappointing with blu-ray resolution capability.
MAGNOLIA has provided a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. This mix is pretty aggressive, balancing lively discrete effects with throwaway music, dialogue and discrete effects. Whether the sound is from an ambient display of rain, or panning effects from arrows slicing through the jungle, the immersive quality of the mix is highly entertaining. The english dubbed mix sounds similar to the original Thai mix, however, the voices are miscast, making the film feel far worse than it is.